Ralph Lauren RugbyOriginally Posted by Mr. 'H'
Ralph Lauren RugbyOriginally Posted by Mr. 'H'
It's really just experimentation- I've definitely had days where I've put on a tie with a certain shirt and sportscoat that don't work harmoniously...went back and changed one piece before I left the apartment again later...it happens.
I have enough now that I try to avoid putting together certain things more than once when possible...which doesn't always work out for the best, but you start to see what works and what doesn't.
My main rule for mixing and matching is balance and contrast. If I am dark on top, unless it's a suit, it's light on the bottom and vice versa. With patterns, it's like finding a smaller pattern coordinated with a bigger pattern or a crazier pattern with repeating pattern (i.e. pattern tie, striped shirt, subtle pattern/textured weave/solid suit). That's my formula for wearing all stripes, should I choose to. Thin stripe tie, thick stripe or wide stripe shirt, subtle pinstripe or chalk stripe suit OR bold wide repp stripe tie, candy stripe shirt, textured/flannel/chalk stripe/uber subtle pinstripe suit. There's an infinite amount of ways- these are just some ideas.
For me, if there's any doubt, return to a basic neutral to ground the look- a black silk knit tie, brown or gray slacks that contrast with the shade of the jacket, etc. The only thing you can go wrong with is not contrasting enough and looking like you're wearing a mismatched suit, i.e. dark navy jacket, black pants.
As for black/brown, if the brown pops enough to contrast with the black, I think it looks great. Especially tan and black. It's when you get into like dark, dark chocolate brown. I wear brown shoes with gray all the time and I think it looks great.
Though I have always tried to avoid wearing brown belts (don't know why) Right now I'm wearing grey pants subtle brown belt and a brown (casual style)wingtip.... Took a stroll with two of my girls this evening and recieved compliments.... Must have done something right!
I seem to be sensing a lot of folks (not all) suggesting that "rules are bunk", "experiment yourself", "wear what you think looks good."
I'd like to respectfully disagree. If you are asking the question it's probably because you haven't yet trained your eye to understand what looks good and what doesn't. This is precisely the situation in which listening to others and following a few rules makes the most sense. Otherwise you're just floundering in the dark. No one would suggest learning to ski or do surgery by just "experimenting yourself" or "doing what you think makes sense."
Color and pattern matching is a skill that can be learned and rules are helpful while you're learning. Once you've mastered the basics, then experimenting and trusting your eye makes a lot of sense, until then it's probably a bad idea.
Reading the Flusser book is an outstanding resource. Here's another (I hope the powers that be don't mind me cross-posting to another board...)
Well worth your time to read some of these great tips.
Looking at photos of old celebrities and watching movies is also a great way to get ideas for how to match clothes. I can't tell you how many ties I've woken up, thought "Hm...I think I'm in a Fred Astaire/Bogart/Cary Grant/Duke of Windsor/20s/30s/40s/Indiana Jones/William Powell/Frank Sinatra kind of mood" and try to do a look similar to his.
Stripe, dots, flannel in black/white/gray color scheme
Not all rules are bunk. But many are. They are often not based in any sense of reality - see the one a number of members have posted about brown/grey combinations. Who knows where this one came from?Originally Posted by Mark from Plano
Many of the "rules" we hear seem to be more from a sad clinging to a supposed "tradition", or more often the mishearings of a valid criticism of someone's outfit, than actually helping people to look their best. I admit that if ones wardrobe is not massive it might be difficult to follow my "just experiment" advice.
There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. All the rest . . . comes afterwards. Camus
That is interesting, as one of the most classic of all mens outfits (In my opinion) is Grey Flannels, a fawn or brown sports jacket and brown shoes. Funny how that is accepted but say, a grey suit with brown shoes is frowned upon!
In response to the last two posts I'd simply say that part of the confusion probably stems from the fact that there are lots of people out there issuing "rules" who don't have the first flipping idea what they're talking about. Fact is that if you listen to people who do (Flusser, Antongiovanni and others) they will tell you that grey and brown are a classic combination, quite the opposite of whatever "rule" you may have heard.
My only suggestion is that you get GOOD advice from trusted sources. I can't speak to whomever it was that first indicated to you that brown and grey don't go together. Personally, today I'm wearing charcoal grey trousers with a brown (vicuna) cashmere sports coat (both solids) along with a white shirt with blue and light brown stripes, a maroon, green and blue ancient madder pocket square and AE Cliftons in chestnut brown. Lots of browns and greys matched up.
To me it's not about rejecting rules (which are helpful, especially to those who are still learning matching techniques), it's about discerning who knows what they're talking about and who's just making sh*t up.
EDIT: Since I cross posted from another board earlier perhaps I'll be forgiven if I say that a great resource is magazines like "Classic Style" that have lots of pictorials and ads with various matching combinations that you can draw from. Forgiven MK?
Thanks for all the replies guys and gals. The discussion has been helpful indeed. I did want to say that, while I understand that rules always have exceptions, my thinking about laying down ground rules was exactly as has been mentioned. Many folks, myself included, have no idea of what to avoid and why to avoid it. I put ensembles together and I think that they look good, but, as with everything in my life, there is always a good chance that I'm wrong.
The links and books are plenty to get started with and I'm glad that I can now confidently tell the gals at work exactly what I've been thinking - they just don't know all there is to know about style
That is my point. It is very well accepted that Grey Flannels, a browntweed/wool jacket and brown shoes go together, however, a grey suit with brown shoes is frowned upon!